Don't be ashamed of being a tourist in Interlaken – that's what the place exists for. Interlaken is all that many visitors ever see of Switzerland, whisked through the country on a rapid lakes-and-mountains tour. The town is perfectly positioned as the gateway into the Oberland, and is a pleasant enough place, even if overly commercial and packed with Swiss-kitsch souvenir shops.
The town is situated on the Bödeli, a small alluvial neck of land between the twin lakes of the Thunersee and Brienzersee. It's one of the oldest resorts in the country, famed for its superb views towards the Jungfrau massif, which lies perfectly framed between two hills to the south of town. And that's pretty much the whole story: history, character and tradition take a back seat to the necessities of providing for the millions of trippers who pass through on their way to more dramatic backdrops. Many of the shops which cram the centre of town have prominent signs in Japanese; of Interlaken's tourists, fully a quarter are from Japan, as many as from around Switzerland.